Thursday, December 6, 2012


Christmas has that funny little way of sneaking up on you. One minute you're enjoying the warm Spring days and the next you're surrounded by tinsel, with christmas songs echoing in your ears. However, I'll admit that I really do love the planning stage of christmas. I've been known to have a folder dedicated to the making and baking at christmas. I wish I was so organized the rest of the year.

This year I've purposely tried to keep things a little simpler in the way of cooking and decorations. I don't want to feel that slightly panicky, overwhelmed feeling that is unique to this times of year. Because there are end of year gatherings and end of year school concerts to go to.  Presents, cards to give. Food to prepare. It is so easy to get swept into the fast momentum of this time of year, with so many things we should do, then falling into a crumpled emotional heap on boxing day morning. I've been there.

But I've been resisting so far. Refusing to worry about the fact that christmas is but a few weeks away, family guests are coming and there is no sign of a menu or even a christmas cake, let alone a pudding. Perhaps there won't be a traditional christmas cake this year. Perhaps the teachers gifts won't have six different types of biscuits, maybe half that amount. Perhaps I won't get to make that handmade star for the tree.

Sometimes there is no one else expecting all these extra things except ourselves.

I think that panicky overwhelmed feeling was sneaking up me this morning. But I'm fighting it off.  I will write up that menu, but it will be a simple one. A few old favourites with perhaps a new ham glaze to try out or a new pork stuffing recipe. Just to keep things a little exciting.  Some sides, a dessert or two and we are done. It is nice to have some excess for the days after christmas, but just not too much. I still have a week or so up my sleeve to get that butcher's order in.

I need to remember that half the fun is in the planning. So I'm looking forward to sitting down and planning out the food, using a new stamp to make some christmas cards, and thinking about ways of getting creative with brown wrapping paper.

The glossy magazines full of their sparkly christmas decorations, fancy menus and high end gifts are all well and good to look at, but it is not the reality for most of us, and are usually stylized and contrived. I admit to buying more magazines at this time of the year, as they really are so pleasing to the eye. Sometimes there are a few ideas to adapt to home. But usually in a far less elaborate way.

As always, there are things that fall off the list of necessities. Things that we know deep down are not really necessary. Afterall there is always next year.

 Sometimes it's more about being in the moment, than ticking off that to do list.

How are your plans?
Are you trying to keep a simpler christmas this year?
Are there certain things that have fallen off your to do list too?


  1. Hi Tania, I saw your Christmas decoration on Little woolies blog, it looks beautiful, well done! I am in bed for two weeks after some rather major surgery, then on crutches after that so my christmas shopping is done, presents are wrapped and I am spending my days crafting from bed - and reading blogs! The food, well it will be whatever this year, and I was stressing about it before my operation but I'm not now, being stuck here has made me realize again, that it's not about the stuff, or the food, it's about each other, family and friends. If we can enjoy that with wonderful trimmings all the better but even if lunch is a simple affair, it's still Christmas and it's still my family, that I love. xxBrenda

  2. Slightly panicky? Check. Overwhelmed? Check. Deep breaths being practised over here at Betsy's and your calm words are very timely.
    Just this morning I pulled out of my sewing circle as my house looks like a tip, there is no christmas shopping done and I have a peppa pig party to host in 10 days for 10 excited little girls.
    The one upside is because my oven is toast, there is no roast pork or pavlova happening at my place this year, it''ll be all cold salads and a bbq which should be a nice change in all this heat. Deep breaths for us all. mel x

  3. I am at that point where I thought I was ahead but now I am not so sure! I like to make as much as I can, cards, crackers, one or two presents, the cake, our Christmas Nut Loaf, a wreath, a few pomanders, jars of lemon curd and chocolates. Each year I try something new and then it gets added to the list. I rather think my list is getting out of hand now and I am going to have to choose from it rather than do all of it!!

  4. It's funny cause although we love and celebrate Christmas in NZ, I find it so much more commercialised here in Australia which I think induces one to feel completely overwhelmed. Our Christmas's still tend to be a laidback affair six years in which I guess is easy when it's only us to cater to.

    Our menu this year, like most, is a simple affair and our very few presents (most handmade) are ready to be wrapped so in that sense I feel more than ready.

    Wishing you a gentle few weeks ahead Tania.


  5. Great post Tania. I'm doing simple this year too. Have simplified the amount of pressies, which means I've now finished and am ready to wrap (brown paper and string). We are heading off to a Resort with family and will eat out for Christmas day. I feel alot less pressure this year and have found I have more time to make and bake. x

  6. Hi Tania, I just wrote about expectations and how we celebrate our simple Christmas on my blog too. It does weigh heavy on peoples minds at this time of year. Your Christmas will be wonderful, whatever it is that drops off. Take Care.

  7. at christmas time as long as our bellies are full and theres laughter to be heard its all good x

    we have used the same ham glaze for years now its tradition, its amazing with star anise, brown sugar, apricot jam and sherry in it (on my blog if you're keen) its so good I don't think I'll ever try another one !

    and i might do a tiramasu for dessert ...

  8. oh and one more thing that cake looks gooooooooodddddd !!!!

  9. Having a Christmas day birthday in our family has reduced that Christmas day pressure that can sometimes arise. We have our celebratory meal a day or two before Christmas and focus more on the birthday girl on the actual day.

    I think a more relaxed approach is the way to go too.

  10. oh yes, the lead up to the crazy season is upon us!! We are trying to keep it simple. the gifts i could online i did to avoid any kind of random impulse shopping or fighting for car parks. I'm making loads of handmade gifts to give, but in that, still keeping it relatively simple. A jar of jam and perhaps some cotton napkins...useful and hopefully practical too. Our family all live a bit of a travel away so I don't get to host Christmas this year, but I try to lighten the load for those that do and do a glazed ham the day before to bring along. I like the idea of having a folder, and you are so right, the planning is just as fun!! happy days Tan xx

  11. Great post, couldn't agree more! The teachers will appreciate anything handmade/baked, even if it is only one type! This year I got the children to chip in, after all, it is their teacher the gift goes to. I got some sparkly felt, a few Christmassy sequins and they sewed these on, just a few here and there. We cut a tree shape out of the felt, stuffed it and I sewed it up. There, a cute little ornament that made one teacher hug & smooch my boy (wow, never seen that before!). We were early giving them as we are going away very soon. I popped in a coffee gift certificate from a Coffee Chain and they were all delighted!!
    Good luck with keeping it simple, it is well worth trying for your sanity.

  12. We're really trying hard to keep it low key. A time that is indulgent yet relaxing and restorative. The mags suck me in also at this time of year! Glazed ham is making my mouth water :) x

  13. My focus swings between Christmas and birthdays at this time of year. After Cohen's birthday party this weekend and his actual birthday on Tuesday, I will turn my attention back to Christmas. I've been keeping things simple and handmade and have nearly all the gifts ticked off the list. I want to have everything done the week before Christmas so that there is no last minute rushing. :)

  14. Ahh if I think about it too much I just feel overwhelmed so I'm trying really hard to just keep focussed on little bits at a time. I'm sure there will be things that will drop off the list, it's a mental one at the moment I haven't even written a list of to do's for Christmas. Our Christmas will be pretty simple, we're having it at my parents where we all contribute by each making something to lighten the load on all of us. It also makes it an enjoyable day. I hope your Christmas preparing is going well. xx

  15. We are staying at home this Christmas for the first time in four years! So glad we won't be travelling. I'm keeping gifts for the kids to a minimum, cause I know they'll get bags of stuff from enthusiastic grandparents. Lunch will be ham and salads and pavalova, simple and easy.
    Kate xx


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